Fall lawn care By John Fulton
September 11, 2013, The time of year has arrived to put that final push on to prepare your lawn for the upcoming winter months. What you do now will have a big impact on how your lawn will look next spring.
Grub problems have traditionally been found first along walks, driveways, or patios. The current list of products includes imidacloprid and trichlorfon as the chemical active ingredients. Sevin may also be used, but it is specific for Japanese beetle grubs. Sevin also will have an effect on earthworms, which is good and bad. It is good if you have mole problems, and bad if you don’t. If label directions are followed, these should provide adequate control of grubs. The insecticide must get to where the grubs are, so make sure to water the liquid formulations in as soon as they are applied.
Seeding of grass is normally accomplished by September 10. This is a tried and true date, but the end of the world won't come about if you are a week later. The goal is to give the seed
enough time to germinate and become established before bad weather arrives. The dry weather again this year means seed sown in mid-August would still be laying there (if birds haven’t found it). Seed at the rate of 4 pounds of seed per 1000 square feet on bare spots, or half that rate on overseedings.
If you have a compacted yard, or have a deep thatch layer, now is also an ideal time to dethatch or aerate. Thatch layers should not be over 1/2 inch deep for optimum growing conditions. When aerating, make sure you use a core type aerator.
Fall fertilization is also a good practice. If you haven't fertilized in the last month, consider applying a fertilizer treatment now. Use about 8 pounds of 13 13 13 fertilizer per 1000 square feet of lawn. Try to avoid the high nitrogen fertilizers this late in the year. It's hard enough to keep up with the mowing as it is, and nitrogen promotes top growth. The even analysis fertilizers will also promote root growth, which is what we want going into the late fall and winter.
Crabgrass and other annuals grass weeds can be seen about everywhere, but they have been affected by the hot, dry weather that has sent many lawns into dormancy. Those surviving the weather thus far will die with the first frost, so treatment is not available or recommended in the fall. Make a note of where these grasses are, and an overseeding to thicken up the grasses you want there may help crowd out the annuals.
Last, but not least, is broadleaf weed control. Fall is usually a good time to treat problem perennial weeds since they are sending food down to the roots to overwinter. A spray about the 3rd or 4th week of September (making sure to use the appropriate product) can do a world of good on the perennial weeds. Remember to be very careful with herbicides around perennial plants since they are also getting ready to overwinter. Common sense also tells us it is probably going to have to rain in order to get things growing again in order to be effective.
What most people call sweat bees are actually syrphid flies. Many people are commenting about the yellow and black “sweat bees” flying around everywhere the last week. If you have several in an area, you can hear the drone as the wings vibrate. Syrphid fly is a generic name given to an entire group of flies. There are some differences in appearance and color, but the yellow and black color is the major one in our area. The other names for syrphid flies are hover flies or flower flies. They tend to hover around your arms and face when you have been perspiring, and land to lap up the sweat. They are also commonly found on flowers, hence the flower fly name, and do a good job of pollinating.
Syrphid flies are actually beneficial insects. They help pollinate, larvae feed on dead organic matter, and the larvae are predators of aphids. They cannot sting, but their mouthparts can usually be felt when lapping up sweat from sensitive areas. You may feel a slight pinch.